Thursday, October 5, 2006

Coral CDN - A new toy!

Unless I’m missing something, Coral CDN is a really big deal. How’ve I missed this? At dinner last week with David Lawrence, David mentioned in passing that he uses Coral CDN for all of his podcast file downloads. That means he incurs almost no bandwidth costs, and the CDN kicks in automatically.

Few steps back. Akamai is probably the most popular CDN — which is just a fancy acronym for a distributed group of servers (often throughout the world) that cooperatively share content and distribute the load so that the requested file doesn’t have to be delivered from one location.

Earlier today (before my webhost crapped out on me and left my server offline for a few hours), I was going to post a link to the Hastert robocall and assumed that it’d generate a lot of interest. I didn’t want to have thousands of people downloading a megabyte file — eventually that’d exceed my bandwidth limit.

Remembering David’s enthusiastic endorsement of Coral, I checked it out. I followed the instructions to add a few lines of code to my server’s configuration file (htaccess), and as long as I prepend files in my “/files” folder with the prefix “cdn-”, all requests for that file will get routed through Coral. How slick is that?

This also addresses my fears of uploading large-ish PowerPoint files (and, when I have them, MP3s) alongside my CV/Speaking Engagements page — over time, the costs associated with hosting and delivering that much content could be prohibitive. But now, if I understand this, there’s next to no costs. Joe, our Network Ops guy, pointed out that there is a quota, which I suppose could be an issue if I was serving up really large files, or if someone else was abusing it. I’ll keep an eye on it, but 250 gb of traffic seems like it would be sufficient for most stuff.

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